Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over 18 months and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every other Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Monday, 22 May 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions: 16th - 21st May

We're fast approaching the UK Games Expo, which normally means that a lot of people planning to attend start to have a game clear out to make some space and get some cash to buy new games at the event. For me this means there's the potential to pick up  a few bargains so I'm still on a rather ridiculous spending spree! New games are very abundant, so there's enough first impressions to write a blog every week at the moment.

So, here are the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;
  • Snowdonia is quite a highly regarded euro game which completely flew under my radar, however a friend loaned us a copy so we could take a look. Snowdonia is a worker placement game with a very limited selection of action spaces in which you're competing to build train track and construct stations to gain victory points. The game is quite simple, with a lot of competition over the actions for digging and building rails, however I think there is probably a lot of deeper thinking that could go into optimising your timing to work well wit the random weather pattern and deliberately adding specific cubes to the bag to try and slow down or speed up the progression of the game. For us, the game really progressed too quickly, with the rails automatically being uncovered and stations completed way before we progressed that far. There's a lot of worker placement games and for us this one just didn't have a hook that made us want to play it again. Snowdonia is not one we need to own, but I won't turn down a game in the future.
  • Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle is probably one of the first 'designer' board games with the Harry Potter Intellectual Property. It's not particularly a theme I gravitate to, although I have read the books and seen some films, but I knew I'd get to play this with specific friends. Although I've heard that gamers should start at book 3, and the rulebook even says to do that, for me it didn't make sense to skip books 1 & 2 so that's where we started. Admittedly it was like playing 'my first deck-builder' with the choices of cards to buy being all very similar and no real way to thin or manipulate your deck. It was fine, and we actually lost the second game (we had deliberately increased the difficulty), but I am hoping that as we open more boxes we start to introduce some more interesting mechanisms to make this rise to the standard of a good game.
  • Euphoria is a game I bought because I need to try my first Stonemaier game. Then the following day I played Scythe, then bought Scythe, then played Scythe some more. So, finally Euphoria got it's chance to come off the shelf. Euphoria is a dice worker placement game with the cool theme of creating a dystopian world and hoping your workers don't mind too much. The theme doesn't come through a lot, but there are actions which allow you to keep your people stupid, so they don't realise and leave and keep your people happy, so they love what you're doing to the place! What I love is how fast the turns are, place one dice or recall dice, maybe play your ethical dilemma and then it's the next players turn. With two players this played super fast. On the negative side, we started with really unbalanced powers (probably our own fault because it was a first game) and it felt that that was what decided the game rather than better play throughout. It feels like the end game would always be very tight if everyone was paying attention and that might get frustrating with multiple plays, but I'm happy to play more and find out.
Sadly, last week I never ended up going to Draughts, but hopefully this week I'll get another opportunity to introduce a couple of friends to the phenomenon of a board game cafe. Otherwise, we'll just be gaming at home and visiting my parents this weekend so that will mean popular gateway and abstract games for us, rather than some of our new heavy hitters.

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